the picture of my birth mother

I finally framed the picture of my birth mother, which was given to me by my sisters in Taiwan. It was one of the first things they gave me at the airport once I arrived in Taipei. It’s a 5×7 black and white photo. My sisters laminated the picture to prevent any damage.

I used to think that my birth mother looked so solemn. She’s wearing a black mandarin collared jacket or shirt. Her hair is short and neat in the style of older women. Her eyes are a little downturned at the outer corners. I thought upon first seeing the picture that she appeared sad. She is not quite smiling, and I often wonder what my birth mother was thinking when the photo was taken. Oddly enough, I never asked my sisters how old she was at the time. I think that I was so overwhelmed with joy to have her picture and to see what she looked like that the thought didn’t cross my mind. My guess would be that she was somewhere in her fifties. My sisters told me that I look very much like our mother in her younger years. Unfortunately, there are no photos left of her when she was a young woman.

It’s a really odd feeling knowing that I was born to two people who I will never have an opportunity to meet. The story of why and how I was placed for adoption is a very sad one. Yet my sisters believe that my adoptive parents were angels and are very happy and thankful that I had the opportunity to be raised in a more affluent, stable environment. I understand why it happened the way it did. There are many privileges that I have received because I grew up in the U.S. in a middle class white family. My adoptive parents loved me very much, but there were many challenges, especially when I was a teenager. My parents were ill-prepared to parent an adoptee with identity issues.

I am happy that my sisters and family wanted to reunify. They have very big and generous hearts. The picture of my birth mother is now sitting in a place where I see it every morning. Framed, she appears happier, if only in my imagination, and it makes me smile.

5 thoughts on “the picture of my birth mother

  1. Sofia // Papaya Pieces

    What a beautiful post, and what a lovely gift that you received the picture of your biological mother. It’s a lovely how your sisters believe that being adopted meant that you probably had a better life in many other senses… I can agree that piano is important 😉 Have a great week xx

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  2. Morgan Ev (@MorganinAsia)

    Lovely post. We have several photos of our son’s birth mother–some of her holding him in the hospital, and even one of me with her (I met her when our son was a few months old). We have a couple that I took of his half-sister as well. Right now they’re in an album that we look at together whenever he wants, but if he ever wants them in a more prominent place, we can do that as well. It’s such a gift to have photographic evidence of her place in his life.

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